Day 1: Galway – Sligo
Average Speed 25.5 km/h
After taking ages to pack I had a massive fry and then went to Chuck's house for coffee. It was raining pretty heavily so we waited until 11.30 when it had eased off a bit to make a move.
The roads from Galway to Tuam are pretty bad but once we got past there they improved a bit. The wind was in our faces most of the day and there isn't a whole lot to see on the route.
We stayed with my brother Stephen in Sligo. Most people in the house had just finished exams so there was a great sing song and not much sleep. Good craic though.
Day 2: Sligo – Letterkenny
Average Speed 25.4 km/h
We left Sligo at around 10am. The sun was shining all the way to Bundoran as we passed Ben Bulben. After Bundoran we caught up with a group doing the Mizen to Malin cycle for charity.
After having a look around town, a feed and a pint of Guinness we met our friend from college, Damien McClafferty for a few beers.
Day 3: Letterkenny – Malin Head – Derry
Average Speed 22.3 km/h
I started to suffer a bit on the way to Malin Head. The wind and rain was taking it's toll. We arrived in Malin Head at around the same time as the Mizen to Malin group. They had a van organised selling coffee and cake. It was much appreciated. There isn't much to do on Malin head to be honest. The journey there is the best part with beautiful scenery.
We arrived in Derry an hour or 2 later. There was a bomb scare near our hostel which meant a few of the roads were closed so we had to figure out a way to get around it using some other streets. The Paddy's Palace hostel had a great atmosphere with a lot of groups from different countries staying there. We walked around the city walls for a while and then went to a pub.
Day 4: Derry – Castlerock
Average Speed 22.8 km/h
This was our shortest day of the trip. It was almost a rest day and it gave me the chance to see the Giant's Causeway. We got a taxi from Castlerock to the Causeway with a driver called Toni who offered me a can of Foster's out of the glove box a few minutes into the journey. The weather was fantastic and the sea was calm so it was easy to walk down right to the end of the Causeway safely. Toni brought us back to our hostel in Downhill which was just outside Castlerock. It was one of the finest hostels I've ever stayed in and was beside a magnificant beach. The owner helped me out with some bike maintenance the next day and told me he had done a similar bike trip back in the day.
Day 5: Castlerock – Belfast
Average Speed 21.8 km/h
We expected a tailwind since we had been cycling into the wind for 4 days now. The opposite happened which set us up for one of the toughest days of the trip.
After getting lost shortly after Coleraine and losing almost an hour we arrived in Portglenone. Taking a wrong turn really knocks the spirit out of you on a bike so we took a rest in the town square. One of the owners of a bike shop in the town (www.bicycleshack.eu) came out and offered us a cup of coffee and some biscuits. That really boosted the morale and the rest of the way to Belfast went pretty well.
In Belfast we got a bit lost again trying to find Chuck's aunt's house. On the positive side I got to see a lot of the city and went through a few of the areas with paintings of men with guns on the walls. When we landed at the house we were greeted with a warm welcome, beef stew, beer, fruit salad and a shower. It was unbelievable. I didn't make it into Belfast that night as I was exhausted from the day and I had one eye on the longest part of our trip. Belfast to Dublin.
Day 6: Belfast – Dublin
Average Speed 24.6 km/h
This was actually not the hardest of days on the bike. There wasn't much wind to speak of and the roads were excellent until we got close to Dublin. We arrived after my longest day in the saddle on O'Connell street where I considered my trip finished. The night finished with 2€ drinks in a club on Harcourt St. I spent the next day as a tourist in Dublin City Centre.
Total trip distance: 768.58km